Free iPhoneography Lessons

iPhoneography lessons were inspired by my best friend, Gina.

After I went through an explanation of how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO work to control exposure and the effects of those choices, Gina had to wipe the drool off her chin–not because she was excited but because she had nodded off half way through.

She said to me, “Dianne, I would love to learn how to take better pictures with my iPhone, but I’m really not interested in shutter speeds and all that other gobblety-gook.”  So, this is for Gina.

If you happen to be like Gina and are interested in taking better photos with your smart phone (or other simple point-and-shoot camera) without learning any of the why’s, here is a collection of articles on related topics to give you some ideas of things you can do with your iPhone.

If you are a DSLR photographer interested in learning more about how to get what you want from your camera, check out DSLR related posts in our blog and our workshop schedule.  Many of the iPhoneography lessons also apply to DSLRs (see the topics below).

iPhoneography Lessons by Topic:

Composing Photos:  Light, Framing, and Compositional “Rules”

These lessons apply to all photography whether you’re shooting with an iPhone, a disposable, or a top-end DSLR.  They provide guidelines that help improve the artistic appeal of your images without knowing anything technical about your gear.

Lesson 1: There are no rules
Lesson 2: The Rule of Thirds
Lesson 3: Fill the Frame
Lesson 7: Keep it Level
Lesson 11: The Rule of Symmetry
Lesson 15: Vantage Point
Lesson 16: Outdoor Light
Lesson 17: Choosing a Vantage Point for Lighting
Lesson 22: People and Landmarks
Lesson 23: Inclusion and Exclusion
Lesson 43:  Patterns
Lesson 52:  The Rule of Thirds Revisited
Lesson 53:  The Rule of Filling the Frame
Lesson 54:  Revisiting the Rule of Symmetry
Lesson 55:  The Rule of Leading Lines
Lesson 56: The Rule of Opportunity
Lesson 57: The Rule of Going Vertical
Lesson 58:  The Rule of Getting Close
Lesson 61: The Rule of Light
 Lesson 62:  The Rule of Telling a Story
Lesson 67:  The Rule of Golden Light
Lesson 93: Old Places, New Dressing
Lesson 94: Choices, Choices
Lesson 95:  A Change of Perspective

Camera Apps for the iPhone

Camera Awesome (formerly called Camera!)

Step-by-step instructions on using the Camera Awesome app and some of the clever things you can do with it.  Camera Awesome includes handy features like a level, different guidelines for different compositions, and, most importantly, the ability to select different parts of the image for exposure, focusing, and white balance, giving you greater control of your photos.
Lesson 7: Keep it Level
Lesson 8: Separating Focus from Exposure
Lesson 12: Awesomization
Lesson 14: Another Way to Be Hip
Lesson 30: Awesomely Hip Portraits
Lesson 34: When You’ve Got the Shakes
Lesson 31: Blur and Flash
Lesson 36: Creating Space
Lesson 51:  The Rule of Focus


Step-by-step instructions on using the incredible user-friendly app to combine two exposures.  This is an extremely useful app when there are very bright and very dark areas in your photo, making it hard to get a good exposure for all.  Works best for still subjects.
Lesson 18: When the Light is Out of Control
Lesson 20: Using Filters in Pro HDR
Lesson 21: Filters and Photos From Your Library
Lesson 45:  Post Processing or Photo Manipulation?
Lesson 66:  Pink Clouds, HDR, and the iPhone 5S
Lesson 72:  4S-5S HDR Showdown
Lesson 73:  The Rule of HDR
Lesson 74:  The Range of HDR
Lesson 75:  HDR Adjusted


A fun and creative app that can be a bit addictive.  Hipstamatic applies effects that harken back to earlier days in photography when lens aberrations, light leaks, and noise were considered bad things, but Hipstamatic somehow makes these nostalgic glitches chic again.
Lesson 13: Getting Hip
Lesson 14: Another Way to Be Hip
Lesson 24: Using Hipstamatic to Include and Exclude
Lesson 29: Hipsta-Classic
Lesson 30: Awesomely Hip Portraits
Lesson 26:  The iPhone and Wildlife
Lesson 46:  Flower Power
Lesson 54:  Revisiting the Rule of Symmetry
Lesson 88:  Hip Heads
Lesson 93: Old Places, New Dressing
Lesson 98:  Comparison of Apps at Night
Lesson 100:  Hipstamatic on Ice with iPhoto on the Side

Paper Camera

Paper Camera does interesting effects like creating sketches of what you see or comic book versions of life.  What’s particularly fun is that you see the effect in the LCD while you’re looking at your subject live.  It will also do video with the same effects and allow you add the effects to images taken with a different camera/app.
Lesson 77:  Paper Camera
Lesson 78:  Make a Sketch
on 79:  Start with a Photo, End with a Sketch
Lesson 80:  Many Effects
Lesson 85:  iPhoto Con Tours
Lesson 86:  My Silly Dog and the iPhoto Exposure Tool

Other Camera Apps (Fast Camera and Slow Shutter)

Fast Camera fires off a series of shots immediately based on your settings, giving you a better chance to catch fast action.  Slow Shutter provides a way to show motion by keeping the shutter of the iPhone camera open for long time intervals.  Both are fun to experiment with–Fast Shutter will let you take images for set intervals and then export them into a movie, which is fun.  Slow Shutter is tricky because of the need to keep the iPhone absolutely still, which can be challenging even with a tripod.
Lesson 32: Fast Camera
Lesson 35: Do the Time Warp
Lesson 90:  Slow Shutter
Lesson 101:  Slow Shutter App and a Highway Bridge
Lesson 91:  Use a Tripod

Photo Editing and Post Processing Apps

These articles provide many step-by-step guides to using a variety of photo editing apps and show how to do some fun and creative things.  My favorites are Snapseed and iPhoto, but they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Lesson 12: Awesomization (Using Camera Awesome to edit an image)
Lesson 14: Another Way to Be Hip (using Camera Awesome to edit an image to a look similar to the Hipstamatic Tin Type)
Lesson 40: The Morning After (using SnapSeed and post-processing)
Lesson 41:  iPhortraits (using SnapSeed to improve a portrait)
Lesson 42:  New and Improved (editing using SnapSeed)
Lesson 45:  Post Processing or Photo Manipulation? (comparing amounts of editing in SnapSeed)
Lesson 47: Blooming Snapseed (using SnapSeed to edit flower images)
Lesson 63:  Photo Makeover (example of failed photo rescue using SnapSeed)
Lesson 64:  Photo Makeover Landscape Style (example of improved image by using SnapSeed)
Lesson 65:  Sunset Makeover (example of different adjustments made in SnapSeed)
Lesson 76:  PhotoForge Levels (PhotoForge is no longer available in the app store, but if you have it, this is a step-by-step lesson on making adjustments in it)
Lesson 79:  Start with a Photo, End with a Sketch (steps to import a photo into Paper Camera and applying effects to it)
Lesson 81:  Tadaa! (Using the editing capabilities of Tadaa)
Lesson 82:  Halloween Tadaa (Editing in Tadaa)
Lesson 83:  Metadata (Data about your photos you can view in the free iPhoto app)
Lesson 84:  iPhoto Mobile Editing (step-by-step example of editing an image in the mobile version of iPhoto)
Lesson 85:  iPhoto Con Tours (step-by-step applying effects in iPhoto to an image created with Paper Camera to create an abstract)
Lesson 86:  My Silly Dog and the iPhoto Exposure Tool (step-by-step applying effects in iPhoto to adjust an image created in Paper Camera)
Lesson 87:  Adding Drama in iPhoto iOS (step-by-step edits to an image created using the Apple camera)
Lesson 89:  Retromatic Wallpaper (Using the Retromatic app to create a silly image that looks like psychedelic wallpaper from the 60’s; not recommended unless you’re really bored)
Lesson 96:  iPhoto Mobile and Sepia (using iPhoto on your iPhone to apply a sepia effect on an image taken with another camera–step-by-step instructions)

Gear, Maintenance, and iPhone Features

Tips on capabilities that are related to your iPhone and/or iPhone version; exploration of gadgets like fisheye lenses, tripods, and telephoto lenses; physical considerations; and maintenance.
Lesson 6: Hold the Phone (practical advice on how to keep your phone stable while shooting)
Lesson 19: Keep It Clean (practical advice on cleaning your iPhone and some LifeProof gadgets for keeping it safe and dry)
Lesson 25:  Surprise!  It’s Telephoto (using a telephoto attachment with your iPhone)
Lesson 27: The Wide, Wide World (using the panoramic capability of your iPhone)
Lesson 28: Power Rules (conserving power and other options for long battery life)
Lesson 33: How Far Can You Flash? (experiment with the built-in flash)
Lesson 37:  Small Subjects (using a macro lens attachment to get closer to small subjects)
Lesson 38: Wide Views (using a wide angle lens attachment to get a wider angle of view)
Lesson 39: 2X (using a 2x telephoto attachment to get tighter on far away or small subjects)
Lesson 44:  Fisheyes (using a fisheye lens attachment for globe effects)
Lesson 48:  Deciding When to Upgrade (determining what features in the 5S version of the iPhone justify an upgrade)
Lesson 59: Quick iPhone Photo Sharing Tip (tip on sending photos from your iPhone–especially multiple images)
Lesson 60: The iPhone 5S (comparison of flash between 4S and 5S)
Lesson 68:  Panoramic Upgrade (panoramic feature in 5S)
Lesson 71:  4S-5S Face-off at Sunrise (comparison of 4S and 5S at same sunrise)
Lesson 72:  4S-5S HDR Showdown (comparison of 4S and 5S with built-in HDR)

One thought on “Free iPhoneography Lessons

  1. The links and tutorials are great, helpful and very useful. This is amazing it has a lot to learn and clear discussion has all done. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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